Fun fact, the process of preparing a home for sale can take a month or more. So, here's how to start:
1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home
Hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a prospective buyer will see it for the first time. First, consider what's called "street appeal;" does it need washing or painting? Does the driveway need repair work? Is the landscaping in good shape? Remember, be very critical; your buyer will be.
2. Clean Out the Clutter
Before putting your home on the market, get rid of clutter in every area -- closets, attic storage, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves -- everywhere.
Remember, this is no time to be sentimental: if you don't use it, lose it. Potential buyers are seriously put off by clutter, and most of us drag a lot more things through life than we really need.
3. Break Out the Bleach
After you've cleared out the clutter, it's time to really clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, go over the laundry room, polish the furniture, scour out the cabinets, wash the windows and window coverings, and spiff up the ceiling fans and kitchen appliances. In short, clean everything.
Don't forget the exterior; paint or power-wash everything that needs the work. Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project.
4. Stop-Hammer Time!
After you've cleaned the place to within an inch of its life, the next project is making all the repairs necessary to attract a buyer.
Note: Get this done before you have your broker make the first listing
5. Show to Sell
It’s time to attract a buyer.
Even if it's bright daylight, open the blinds and turn on the lights. Also, open all the interior doors to make the home appear roomier.
Be sure to remove all your kids and pets -- they're cute, but a prospect wants to see your home, not your pride and joy. In addition, make sure your pet's litter pan is clean so the home smells clean and fresh, not like air freshener.
6. Evaluate the Market
Before you put your home on the market, take a day to check out the competition: homes with similar prices and in similar neighborhoods.
Searching and giving yourself realistic expectations for what the market is like will prepare you for a more positive selling experience.